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7 Morning Habits to Increase Your Productivity For the Day

7 Morning Habits to Increase Your Productivity For the Day

There is a lot of advice online about being more productive and time management apps are popping up by the day. This is because more people than ever are facing sleep deprivation and often insomnia, due to the ease of access to communication tools and technology. Sleep is one of the most important things in our lives as it can increase our learning speed, helps us remember more information, and allow us to be happier individuals in general.

But… the biggest bottleneck that few of us attempt to improve is our morning habits. If you want to become more productive and effective during your day, then you need to optimize your morning habits. How we structure and spend the first few hours of each day will determine how the rest of our day will play out, and how effective we can be in our lives.

Luckily, there are simple and easy-to-implement habits that you can do today to increase your productivity for the day, and for the rest of your life.

1. Wake up next to sunlight

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    Studies have shown that those lacking sleep and suffering from insomnia is mostly due to artificial light confusing our internal clocks. When a group of individuals suffering from sleep deprivation went on a camping trip without exposure to artificial light or alarm clocks, their sleep inertia rapidly disappeared within days.

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    The conclusion from researchers was that the best way to fall sleep sleep and improve the quality of your sleep is to be next to natural sunlight, which is also helpful for waking up in the morning naturally.

    2. Meditate

    There’s a lot of advice online on how to approach meditation, and it can seem overwhelming to someone who’s never experienced it. The truth is: there’s no one way to meditate. Everyone has a different approach.

    While the methods of meditation vary, the benefits are clear. Meditation reduces our anxiety levels, increases our productivity, and even improves our memoriesStudies have shown that after a 20-minute meditation session, our brains are more focused and less distracted, which allows us to remove multi-tasking, achieve our goals for the day faster, and become a top performer.

    3. Automate your decisions

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      We only have so much willpower in a typical day. In order to effectively use our willpower towards the tasks that matter, it’s better to minimize the number of decisions we make in the morning. Most of us go through the same routines in the morning, but there are always routines we can automate.

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      Can you picking out your outfit before bedtime, eat the same breakfast each morning, waking up earlier to avoid route changes, and more? This may seem boring at first, but you’ll be surprised how morning automation can provide you the flexibility to be more productive and spontaneous throughout the rest of your day.

      4. The “One Thing”

      According to Gary Keller, the author of The One Thing, the best way to prioritize our never ending to-do lists is to pick “the Domino Effect”. The Domino Effect is when a task that you complete or an action you take, will make everything else on your list easier to complete or even unnecessary.

      For example, if your goal is to learn Spanish before travelling to South America this year, is it worth paying a $1,000 to go to a language school for 3 months to learn everything about the language? Or is it better to focus your time, energy, and money on learning the common Spanish phrases you’ll use with a native speaking professional teacher from South America for less than $150? The second is the right choice.

      Take a look at your to-do list. How necessary or important are each of the tasks in achieving your end goals? Then pick only one from the list that will create a Domino Effect for you, and block out time on your calendar to achieve it.

      5. Do the hardest thing first

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        As we mentioned before, most human beings (unless you’re Elon Musk), have a limited amount of willpower, creativity, and energy in a day. This study done on the human brain shows that our prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain responsible for creativity, is the most active when we wake up. This explains why creatives, such as writers or designers, do their best work early in the morning upon waking up.

        If this is true, then we must organize our morning schedule to do the hardest, if not the most creative task first thing in the morning. This allows us to most effectively use our brain capabilities and free up brain space to complete tasks that require less creativity or willpower throughout the rest of the day, such as editing, sending emails, phone calls, etc.

        6. Prepare the night before

        While this is a post about morning habits, how we spend our night has a massive impact on our productivity the following day. The biggest impact is preparation. Before you head off to bed, take 15-20 minutes to pick your most important tasks and schedule them in your calendar. The reason why scheduling is so important is because you can manage for time and how long a single task will take, which is very difficult to do on a typical to-do list.

        7. Hot and Cold Hydrotherapy

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          Although not common in North America, Cold and Hot Hydrotherapy is enjoyed not only as a luxury in Finland, but a necessity. Several studies show that hot and cold hydrotherapy has multiple benefits for our health, including reduced stress, stronger immune system, increased ability to burn fat, and even fighting depression.

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          The method is rather simple. Simply shower and wash yourself the way you would normally in normal temperature water. Then, crank the nozzle to the coldest possible temperature and wait for 30 seconds. From there, crank the nozzle to the hottest possible temperature you can handle and hold for 30 seconds. And lastly, go back to cold temperature, and hold for 30 seconds.

          Fair warning: if you’re not used to shocking your body in the morning, this may be a difficult approach to adopt at first, but it becomes easier and easier over repetition, like most things. This wakes you up quickly and effectively.

          Now Your Turn

          Which of the morning routines we’ve outlined will you try out?
          What were your key takeaways from the morning routines of the successful?
          We’d love to hear it in the comments below.

          More by this author

          Sean Kim

          Sean is the founder and CEO of Rype, a language learning app. He's an entrepreneur and blogger.

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          Last Updated on December 10, 2019

          How to Stay Motivated and Reach Your Big Goals in Life

          How to Stay Motivated and Reach Your Big Goals in Life

          It is hardly a secret that the key to successfully accomplishing one goal after another is staying motivated. There are, of course, tasks which successful people may not like at all, yet they find motivation to complete them because they recognize how each particular task serves a greater goal.

          So how to stay motivated most of the time? Here are 5 simple yet effective ways on how to stay motivated and get what you want:

          1. Find Your Good Reasons

          Anything you do, no matter how simple, has a number of good reasons behind it.

          You may not be able to find good reasons to do some tasks at first but, if you take just a few moments to analyze them, you will easily spot something good. We also have many tasks which don’t need any reasoning at all – we’ve been doing them for so long that they feel natural.

          If you’re ever stuck with some tasks you hate and there seems to be no motivation to complete it whatsoever, here’s what you need to do: find your good reasons.

          Even when you set goals, there needs to be reasons behind these goals. They may not be obvious, but stay at it until you see some, as this will bring your motivation back and will help you finish the task.

          Some ideas for what a good reason can be:

          • A material reward – quite often, you will get paid for doing something you normally don’t like doing at all.
          • Personal gain – you will learn something new or will perhaps improve yourself in a certain way.
          • A feeling of accomplishment – at least you’ll be able to walk away feeling great about finding the motivation and courage to complete such a tedious task.
          • A step closer to your bigger goal – even the biggest accomplishments in history have started small and relied on simple and far less pleasant tasks than you might be working on. Every task you complete brings you closer to the ultimate goal, and acknowledging this always feels good.

          2. Make It Fun

          When it comes to motivation, attitude is everything. Different people may have completely opposite feelings towards the same task: some will hate it, others will love it.

          Why do you think this happens? It’s simple: some of us find ways to make any task interesting and fun to do!

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          Take sports for example. Visiting your local gym daily for a half-an-hour workout session sounds rather boring to some. Yet many others love the idea!

          They like exercising not only because they recognize the good reasons behind it, but simply because it’s fun! At certain time of their daily schedule, they find going to gym to be the best thing to do, simply because nothing else will fit their time and lifestyle so perfectly.

          Depending on how you look at it, you can have fun doing just about anything! Just look for ways of having fun, and you’ll find them!

          A simple approach is to start working on any task by asking yourself a few questions:

          • How can I enjoy this task?
          • What can I do to make this task fun for myself and possibly for others?
          • How can I make this work the best part of my day?

          As long as you learn to have the definite expectation of any task being potentially enjoyable, you will start to feel motivated.

          Some of you will probably think of a thing or two which are valid exceptions from this statement, like something you always hate doing no matter how hard you try making it fun. You’re probably right, and that’s why I don’t claim everything to be fun.

          However, most tasks have a great potential of being enjoyable, and so looking for ways to have fun while working is definitely a good habit to acquire.

          3. Change Your Approach And Don’t Give Up

          When something doesn’t feel right, it’s always a good time to take a moment and look for a different approach for the task.

          You may be doing everything correctly and most efficiently, but such approach isn’t necessarily the most motivating one. Quite often, you can find a number of obvious tweaks to your current approach which will both change your experience and open up new possibilities.

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          That’s why saying “one way or another” is so common — if you really want to accomplish your goal, there is always a way; and most likely, there’s more than one way.

          If a certain approach doesn’t work for you, find another one, and keep trying until you find the one which will both keep you motivated and get you the desired results.

          Some people think that trying a different approach means giving up. They take pride in being really stubborn and refusing to try any other options on their way towards the goal.

          My opinion on this is that the power of focus is great, but you should be focusing on your goal, and not limiting your options by focusing on just one way to accomplish it it.

          4. Recognize Your Progress

          Everything you may be working on can be easily split into smaller parts and stages. For most goals, it is quite natural to split the process of accomplishing them into smaller tasks and milestones. There are a few reasons behind doing this, and one of them is tracking your progress.

          We track our progress automatically with most activities. But to stay motivated, you need to recognize your progress, not merely track it.

          Here’s how tracking and recognizing your progress is different:

          Tracking is merely taking a note of having reached a certain stage in your process. Recognizing is taking time to look at a bigger picture and realize where exactly you are, and how much more you have left to do.

          For example, if you’re going to read a book, always start by going through the contents table. Getting familiar with chapter titles and memorizing their total number will make it easier for you to recognize your progress as you read. Confirming how many pages your book has before starting it is also a good idea.

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          You see, reading any book you will be automatically looking at page numbers and chapter titles, but without knowing the total number of pages, this information will have little meaning.

          Somehow, it is human nature to always want things to happen in short term or even at once. Even though we split complex tasks into simpler actions, we don’t quite feel the satisfaction until all is done and the task is fully complete.

          For many scenarios though, the task is so vast that such approach will drain all the motivation out of you long before you have a chance to reach your goal. That’s why it is important to always take small steps and recognize the positive different and progress made. This is how your motivation can sustain in long term.

          5. Reward Yourself

          This is a trick everyone likes: rewarding yourself is always pleasant. This is also one of the easiest and at the same time most powerful ways to stay motivated!

          Feeling down about doing something? Dread the idea of working on some task? Hate the whole idea of working? You’re not alone.

          Right from the beginning, agree on some deliverables which will justify yourself getting rewarded. As soon as you get one of the agreed results, take time to reward yourself in some way.

          For some tasks, just taking a break and relaxing for a few minutes will do.

          For others, you may want to get a fresh cup of coffee and even treat yourself a dessert.

          For even bigger and more demanding tasks, reward yourself by doing something even more enjoyable, like going to a cinema or taking a trip to some place nice, or even buying yourself something.

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          Your progress may not seem to others like anything worth celebrating but, take time and do it anyway! It is your task and your reward, so any ways to stay motivated are good.

          The more you reward yourself for the honestly made progress, the more motivated you will feel about reaching new milestones, thus finally accomplishing your goal.

          Mix and Match

          Now that you have these five ways of staying motivated, it is a good moment to give you the key to them all: mix and match!

          Pick one of the techniques and apply it to your situation. If it doesn’t work, or if you simply want to get more motivated, try another technique right way. Mix different approaches and match them to your task for the best results.

          Just think about it: Finding good reasons to work on your task is bound to helping you feel better; and identifying ways to make it fun will help you enjoy the task even more.

          Or, if you plan a few points for easier tracking of your progress and on top of that, agree on rewarding yourself as you go; this will make you feel most motivated about anything you have to work through.

          More to Boost Your Motivation

          Featured photo credit: Lucas Lenzi via unsplash.com

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